Friday, November 4, 2011

Word that Needs to Get Out

 A few weeks ago, this came across my news feeds, and I talked about it. I mentioned that I had sent off an email to the researchers, and time went by. Yesterday, while Robin was in the hospital for the second time in two weeks, she made the choice to go on Hospice Care, since the chemotherapy hadn't done anything for her tumors, and we were basically out of options, as far as the Oncology team was concerned. They had a few more, more ravaging drugs they could try, but they said it probably wouldn't do anything, and they didn't want to put Robin through more pain needlessly.

 So yesterday and today were spent in trying to collect my mind and figure out where we were going from here. There are a lot of homeopathic, folk, natural remedies; literally thousands. I think there are a few we are going to try once Robin has gotten her strength back, but for the most part, I don't have to much hope in many of them. It's kind of like diet pills and penis growing pills, if there was one that really worked, everyone would know. It would certainly narrow the field down from the thousands that are currently out there.

 Then, this morning I got an email from Dr. Craig Meyers. He said they are hoping to go to clinical trials very soon, but funding has been a huge problem for them. So, that was discouraging, but then I thought, what can I do about it? I decided I could write about it. I could try to get the word out.

 There is huge promise in this. First, it looks like it works, which is a big thing compared to most chemo, which seems to be a lot like flipping a coin. The only thing you get to be really sure of, is that you are going to have pain from it. It is a fact that most chemo destroys healthy cells, since they target fast-growing cells, like cancer, hair follicles and mucus membranes.

 That leads to the second point they mentioned, so far, it seems to be leaving healthy cells alone. That would be a good thing. One of the hardest things I have had the pleasure of doing through all this, is watching Robin writhe through the joint pain, or suffer through the extreme nausea and body aches from the chemo. It's bad enough that you have to endure the pain from the cancer eating away at your body, but then dealing with that on top of it? And then all the drugs that counter the nausea and the drugs that counter the damage to your blood counts cause pain too. So a treatment that didn't cause damage and pain to the rest of your body? That would be good.

 You would wonder why funding would be so hard to come by when a possible treatment shows so much promise? I wonder. The only conclusion that I can come to is that there is no real money to be made in it. I mean, with all the chemo, and the radiation, and the assorted other drugs that come with it, our insurance has paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars. And that is not an exaggeration. One of the itemized bills I looked at today was originally for 154,000. Granted, the insurance only paid out 16,000. It adds up, and it really makes me wonder what people who don't have insurance do. Die? Yet another spot that a real cure would benefit so many. But they are having funding problems.

 In this day and age, we can give an old man an erection, even if he is far past the age of really needing to worry about having one. We try to cover everything with different drugs, but tend to miss the idea of curing. We treat. Having the chance to find a cure is amazing, and there shouldn't be funding problems. But there are.

 The reason I am so adamant in getting funding for Dr. Meyers and the rest of the lab at Penn State Hershey to continue their research, is that I'm not looking forward to watching my wife die. This past year has been the hardest one in my life.

 This time last year we were planning our last hiking excursion for the year before the snows set in. The baby was nine months old, and we were waiting to be told it was a cyst. Because young women don't get breast cancer like this.

 But here we are. Not even a year later. My wife lost her breasts, her uterus, her ability to walk well, her comfort, and her hair several times. The amount of pain I have had to watch her go through, and I would love for others not to have to go through that. I'd love to not see Robin have to continue this way.

I don't want to sit here and watch my wife die. There is hope in these oncolytic treatments, how much hope, we don't know yet, but it is promising.

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